The success or failure of a brand is made of a number of factors and social media is one of them. Does it mean that success in social media means absolute unqualified success? Surely not. Let’s analyse what success in social media means and how it applies to success of the brand as a whole.
Social media marketing is a communication channel to reach an audience local as well as global. Social media marketing is for you if you want to create an online community for your products and brands rather than a hard sell. The traditional Pepsi and Coca-Cola are examples where the advertisement focusses less on the product and more on the happiness that one gets when drinking it. Will one be able to get that level of happiness by reading a tweet on the computer? Probably not. However, customer engagement can be taken to a whole new level by the social network. The buzz and awareness of your product can be enhanced complimentarily by social media in response to say a new television advertisement or a YouTube commercial. Also, social media will be more effective when one has a lot of time on his or her hand and has a tight budget. This is one of the platforms which allows you to get the attention of customers around the clock.
Then again, social media is not free. There is a lot of manpower required to make social media work for organizations. In Facebook, precise targeting is required. For example, if you want to focus on Males aged 25-30 living in metropolitan cities in India and are also interested in water polo. Twitter on the other hand is more like an announcement rather than precise targeting.
Measuring social media success can be difficult. If we consider social media objectives, it could be stuff like Followers, tweets, mentions, signups, comments and shares and so on and so forth. While most of these indicators can be measured empirically, the amount of success in terms of revenue would vary tremendously across these objectives. For example, Facebook “likes” are a poor approximation of the success of social marketing because many people like products or pictures just be force of habit. On the other hand, recommending a watch or a mobile to a friend through Facebook is the holy grail of social media. This increases the possibility of success since people are likely to act on the advice of their friends.
However, there are multiple instances of social media marketing campaigns failing because though the company increased the brand awareness and engagement, this didn’t ultimately translate to sales. Case in point is the Old Spice advertisement which was extremely popular amongst the ladies. However, men resented it. So one has to reach down to the basics of marketing before launching a campaign. One has to clearly identify the customer using targeted analytics and only then launch the campaign. If a huge amount of social media buzz is created but in the wrong community, it will be of no value. Therefore, with social media as well as ordinary media, the same principles must be applied and success in social media is similar to success in overall marketing terms. However, social media buzz should not be taken as an indicator of success.